Upcoming exhibition: Notre Livre: À toute épreuve. A Collaboration between Joan Miró and Paul Éluard

Paul Éluard (1895-1952). À toute
épreuve. Gravures sur bois de
Joan Miró
. Première édition
illustrée. Geneva: Gérald Cramer,
[1958]. 79 woodcuts by Joan Miró,
printed in Paris at Atelier
Lacourière; text printed by Marthe Fequet and Pierre Baudier. Image copyright Artists Rights Society (ARS)
The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of one of the most beautiful books created in the twentieth-century, À toute épreuve, with text by the French poet Paul Éluard and 79 original woodcuts by the Catalan artist Joan Miró.
The entire volume can be seen in the upcoming exhibition entitled, Notre Livre: À toute épreuve. A Collaboration between Joan Miró and Paul Éluard, in the Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, Firestone Library, from February 22 to June 29, 2008.

To create this book, Miró cut over 233 woodblocks working over the better part of eleven years. He used planks of wood collaged with plastic, wire, old engravings and bark paper to achieve images that practically dance across the page. "I am completely absorbed by the damn book," wrote Miró to his publisher, Gerald Cramer, "I hope to create something sensational. . . ." The final volume has a brilliance of invention and a vitality of form and color, rarely found inside the cover of a book.

The exhibition opening will be celebrated on Sunday, March 9, 2008, with Elza Adamowicz, Professor of French and Visual Culture, School of Modern Languages, Queen Mary, University of London, presenting the talk "The Surrealist Artist's Book: Beyond the Page" in the Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture, at 3:00. A reception will follow at 4:00, in the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts on the second floor of Firestone Library.

In the gallery, we will offer English language translations of the poetry, some by the Irish writer Samuel Beckett, who was a great admirer of Eluard's work. Here is a sample:

Villages de la lassitude
Où les filles ont les bras nus
Comme des jets d'eau
La jeunesse grandit en elles
Et rit sur la pointe des pieds.

Villages de la lassitude
Où tous les êtres sont pareils.

Paul Eluard
Villages of weariness
Where the arms of girls are bare
As jets of water
Where their youth increasing in them
Laughs and laughs and laughs on tiptoe.

Villages of weariness
Where everybody is the same

Translation by Samuel Beckett